‘She was my soulmate and I vow swift justice and vengeance’: Wife of slain cop Marlene Rittmanic breaks down as she pays tribute to her ‘hero’ at memorial after officer was executed in cold blood by career criminal over call about his dogs
- Illinois officers gathered inside the Hawkins Centennial Chapel at Olivet Nazarene University for the funeral of slain Bradly Police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic, 49, who was allegedly shot by career criminal Darius Sullivan, 25
- The funeral was followed by a procession to the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
- Rittmanic died after responding to a call about barking dogs with her partner Tyler Bailey on December 30
- Sullivan also reportedly shot Bailey in the head, who is now recovering in the hospital following the ordeal
- Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Sullivan and his pregnant girlfriend, who allegedly helped him
The wife of a slain Illinois police officer asked for justice and made a vow of vengeance against the career criminal and his girlfriend who shot and killed the officer.
Hundreds of Illinois police officers gathered at the funeral for Bradley Police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic on Friday morning, who will be laid to rest days after she was gunned down with her own weapon by Darius Sullivan, 25.
Rittmanic, 49, was shot by Sullivan at the Comfort Inn in Bradley, Illinois, after she and her partner – who is currently in the hospital with gunshot injures to the head – responded to a call regarding Sullivan’s barking dogs on December 30.
The funeral service for Rittmanic, a veteran of the force for 14 years, was held at the Hawkins Centennial Chapel at Olivet Nazarene University, with a 35 minute procession following to the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, where she will be laid to rest.
In a tearful eulogy for her wife, Lyn Stua, cried and said she was angry at Sullivan and his girlfriend, Xandria Harris, 26, who allegedly helped the career criminal kill Rittmanic.
‘She was my soulmate… and I vow swift justice and vengeance’ Stua said about Sullivan and Harris, who could face the death penalty for Rittmanic’s murder.
‘They did not respect life, and our lives have been turned upside down and hopelessly broken.’
Lyn Stua (left) delivered the eulogy for her wife, Marlene Rittmanic, who was shot to death on December 30
Rittmanic died after she and her partner responded to a call at Comfort Inn in Bradley, Illinois. When they arrived at Darius Sullivan and his pregnant girlfriend’s door, where Sullivan allegedly shot her partner in the head and chased Rittmanic down the hall and shot her several times while she begged for her life. She is pictured (right) with her wife and rescue dogs
Hundreds of officers stood in solidarity of Stua (in white) as Bradley Deputy Police Chief Craig Anderson (on stage) said that they would always stand by her and their slain comrade
Illinois officers gathered at the Hawkins Centennial Chapel at Olivet Nazarene University to pay tribute to the slain officer
Stua (left, in white) stood by the hearse as police began the procession toward Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
Pallbearers carried the casket holding Rittmanic as officers and family members saluted
The Kankakee Fire Department held up an American Flag as the hearse drove off with spectators on the side of the rode offering their salutes and solidarity to Rittmanic
As she cried and finished the eulogy, Stua said: ‘Marlene Rittmanic, you are my whole reason for living. You are my hero, and my heart is empty without you. Rest in peace, my love.’
Bradley Deputy Police Chief Craig Anderson and Rittmanic’s niece, Katie, described the slain officer as a Wonder Woman who cared deeply about her family, friends and community.
Anderson said Marlene was one of the department’s best officers, who always dreamed about making her community a better place.
‘She was the type who taught she could fix people. That included even the criminals she arrested. She believed everyone deserves a second chance,’ Anderson said.
‘The turn out is not only a tribute to Marlene’s public service, but an acknowledgement of the amazing individual she was. It stands as a testament of the impact she had on the people she came in contact every day.’
The Bradley Police Department and Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office described Rittmanic as a hero who She was well-known for her leadership in Bradley and had received the police department’s Officer of the Year award in 2020.
She was survived by her wife, Lyn Stua, her father James Rittmanic, sisters Kimberly Organ, Christina O’Connor, Kathleen Emme, Colleen Welch and brother James Rittmanic.
Family and friends who attended a following private ceremony were greeted by hundreds of Illinois police officers who stood ready to help bring Rittmanic to her final resting place
Rittmanic’s niece, Katie, described her aunt as a Wonder Woman who treated her like a daughter
Hundreds of officers made their way to the chapel for the funeral, which was followed by a procession to the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
Bradley Deputy Police Chief Craig Anderson said Marlene was one of the department’s best officers, who always dreamed about making her community a better place
Officers from the Kankakee Sheriff’s Office lined up to help lead the procession to the cemetery
Flags were put up outside the chapel for the officer’s wake on Thursday and funeral Friday
Loved ones gathered at the private funeral for Rittmanic, who was allegedly killed by a career criminal who had been arrested 21 times and had an active arrest warrant when he shot the officer with her own gun
‘She was a kind soul,’ said Sgt. Anderson said during the officer’s wake on Thursday night. ‘Marlene always had the view of people. She believed the best of everybody.’
Family and fellow department officers told NBC 5 in a statement: ”Our world has been turned upside down, obliterated and hopelessly broken.’
They went on to thank those who ‘have affectionately gone out of their way to help us get through the most unnecessary, heartbreaking, painful, deplorable, tragic loss of our lives.’
‘We are forever indebted to all of you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts,’ the statement read.
Rittmanic and partner Tyler Bailey knocked on the door of their room at the Comfort Inn for 14 minutes before Harris – Sullivan’s pregnant girlfriend – cracked the door open, only enough to slip through while still protecting Sullivan inside.
Officers also attended a wake for the slain officer on Thursday night at the chapel
A former officer wore a button with Rittmanic’s face on it to the visitation on Thursday night
The solemn ceremony allowed Illinois, Kankakee and Bradley Police officers to see their fellow officer one last time
Bradley Police Deputy Chief Craig Anderson described Rittmanic as a hero who was honored by the department in 2020
The two police officers were responding to a call about the couple’s barking dogs which they’d left in their car in the parking lot of the motel but Sullivan is the subject of multiple arrest warrants.
When he finally swung the door open, Sullivan was brandishing a 9mm handgun, prosecutors say
He first shot Bailey in the head then chased Rittmanic down the hall and shot her in multiple times while she lay on the ground begging for her life, it is alleged.
He and Harris then went on the run. They were arrested on December 31 and are now both facing the death penalty.
Bailey was also shot in the head but he survived and was taken to the hospital where he remains. In a statement last night, his family said he is ‘far from out of the woods’.
‘While we are not able to go into specific details about the severity of Tyler’s condition, we can certainly say that without the surgical intervention, Tyler would not have survived the remainder of the day on December 30.
‘After the procedure, we are cautiously optimistic about beginning discussions for Tyler’s recovery over the short term, although he is far from out of the woods at this point.
‘Since the surgery, Tyler has continued to fight for his life. He is stable but remains in very critical condition,’ they said in the statement that was issued online by Illinois State Police.
There is growing fury about the fact that Sullivan, who has been arrested 21 times since 2014, was even on the street.
Darius Sullivan started shooting at the two officers as soon as his pregnant girlfriend Xandria Harris opened the door of their hotel room. The pair now face the death penalty. The cops had been called because they’d left their dogs in their car and the animals were barking
Sullivan’s rap sheet starts in June 2014, when he was 19 years old
He was the subject of an arrest warrant for battery dating back to last May, but it’s unclear what the details of that case are.
Prosecutors are demanding that the pair be sentenced to death for the ‘cold blooded’ murder of Sergeant Rittmanic.
They have been charged by state prosecutors so far, who cannot seek the death penalty in state court because Illinois has no death penalty.
Federal prosecutors can however seek it as a punishment if they bring charges against the pair. It remains to be seen if that will happen.
The state’s case will go to a grand jury on January 22.
The next court appearance for either of the pair is on January 27, when Harris is due before a judge.
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